Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Books in the Footprints of God series



Footprints of God: Peter Keeper of the Keys 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

The first film in a projected 10-video series, The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine, join host Stephen Ray, best-selling author and dynamic speaker, on an amazing journey of adventure about Peter, the rugged fisherman Jesus chose to lead His Church. Filmed completely on location in Rome and the Holy Land, you will follow Peter from Galilee to Rome to discover answers about the major role of the Papacy in the saga of salvation.
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  • Footprints of God: Mary the Mother of God 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

    This second film in the the Footprints of God series follows Mary on her extraordinary journey on location in Turkey, Israel and Greece with popular Catholic author and speaker Stephen Ray as guide. Down-to-earth teaching on subjects like Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Assumption into Heaven, and her role of intercessor, and more are offered in an energized, high-impact style that combines the best elements of a travel documentary, biography, Bible study, apologetics course, and church history review.
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  • Footprints of God: Paul Contending for the Faith 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

    Zealous for the God of Israel, Saul of Tarsus pursued murderous threats against the disciples of Jesus. But Saul’s zeal was turned upside down when he was knocked from his “high horse” and humbled by the hand of God. Join the adventure in this edition of the Footprints of God series as Stephen Ray, best-selling author and popular Bible teacher, takes you on the road with St. Paul through Israel, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Italy. Fall from a horse in the desert and dangle over the Damascus Wall in a basket.
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  • Footprints of God: Apostolic Fathers 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

    In this Footprints of God film, Apostolic Fathers Handing on the Faith, Steve Ray takes you on an exciting journey to the Roman Empire and the world of the first Christians. You’ll sit at the feet of the apostles, celebrate the Eucharist in hiding, and tremble at the suffering they endured for Jesus Christ. Retrace their steps through Israel, Turkey, France and Italy. All this in a fast-paced, entertaining biography, travel documentary, Bible study, apologetics course and Church history study rolled into one remarkable adventure!
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  • Footprints of God: Moses Sign Sacrament Salvation 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

    Born a slave, raised a prince, and humbled in exile, Moses returned to confront the mighty Pharaoh with only a staff and the promise of God. Join Steve Ray, best-selling author and popular Bible teacher, in this edition of the Footprints of God series as he takes you on an incredible journey of discovery through Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Together you'll discover how Moses, the Exodus, and the Hebrew experience in the wilderness point to the coming of Christ and our salvation. Gain a deeper appreciation for our Savior, and for the Church and her Sacraments.
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  • Footprints of God: David and Solomon Expanding the Kingdom 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

    Why is Jesus called the Son of David and why is that important to understanding Our Lord? How did the Kingdom of Israel prefigure and anticipate the Kingdom of God and the Catholic Church? Join Steve Ray in this edition from the Footprints of God series as he takes you on a fast-paced adventure through the mountains and deserts of Israel to discover not only where David and Solomon lived and reigned, but also the meaning of their lives and kingdoms.
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  • Footprints of God: Jesus The Word Became Flesh 1-DVD + Study Guide (Footprints of God)

    In this edition in the Footprints of God series, join Stephen Ray as he catches fish in the Sea of Galilee, camps along the Jordan, and explores the places Jesus lived and performed his miracles. Follow the incredible journey through the streets of Jerusalem to Calvary and the tomb, to the Resurrection and Pentecost. Gain a deeper appreciation for our Savior and the salvation he purchased for the world. All this in a fast-paced, entertaining biography, travel documentary, Bible study, apologetics course and Church history study rolled into one remarkable adventure!
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  • Footprints of God: Over Holy Ground- Exploring Sacred Sites 1-DVD (Footprints of God)

    Puts you in the skies above the Holy Land and beyond, giving you a bird’s-eye view of such significant sites as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the pyramids of Egypt, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and many, many more. All complemented by relevant passages of scripture, and backed by a moving musical score. Over Holy Ground takes inspirational filmmaking to new heights! Duration: 30 Mins
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  • "In Mary, the Daughter of Zion, is fulfilled the long history of faith of the Old Testament".

    


    Taken from:

    ....

    Blessed is she who believed (Lk 1:45)

    58. In the parable of the sower, Saint Luke has left us these words of the Lord about the "good soil": "These are the ones who when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance" (Lk 8:15). In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this mention of an honest and good heart which hears and keeps the word is an implicit portrayal of the faith of the Virgin Mary. The evangelist himself speaks of Mary’s memory, how she treasured in her heart all that she had heard and seen, so that the word could bear fruit in her life. The Mother of the Lord is the perfect icon of faith; as Saint Elizabeth would say: "Blessed is she who believed" (Lk 1:45).

    In Mary, the Daughter of Zion, is fulfilled the long history of faith of the Old Testament, with its account of so many faithful women, beginning with Sarah: women who, alongside the patriarchs, were those in whom God’s promise was fulfilled and new life flowered. In the fullness of time, God’s word was spoken to Mary and she received that word into her heart, her entire being, so that in her womb it could take flesh and be born as light for humanity. Saint Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho, uses a striking expression; he tells us that Mary, receiving the message of the angel, conceived "faith and joy".[49] In the Mother of Jesus, faith demonstrated its fruitfulness; when our own spiritual lives bear fruit we become filled with joy, which is the clearest sign of faith’s grandeur. In her own life Mary completed the pilgrimage of faith, following in the footsteps of her Son.[50] In her the faith journey of the Old Testament was thus taken up into the following of Christ, transformed by him and entering into the gaze of the incarnate Son of God.

    59. We can say that in the Blessed Virgin Mary we find something I mentioned earlier, namely that the believer is completely taken up into his or her confession of faith. Because of her close bond with Jesus, Mary is strictly connected to what we believe. As Virgin and Mother, Mary offers us a clear sign of Christ’s divine sonship. The eternal origin of Christ is in the Father. He is the Son in a total and unique sense, and so he is born in time without the intervention of a man. As the Son, Jesus brings to the world a new beginning and a new light, the fullness of God’s faithful love bestowed on humanity. But Mary’s true motherhood also ensured for the Son of God an authentic human history, true flesh in which he would die on the cross and rise from the dead. Mary would accompany Jesus to the cross (cf. Jn 19:25), whence her motherhood would extend to each of his disciples (cf. Jn 19:26-27). She will also be present in the upper room after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, joining the apostles in imploring the gift of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14). The movement of love between Father, Son and Spirit runs through our history, and Christ draws us to himself in order to save us (cf. Jn 12:32). At the centre of our faith is the confession of Jesus, the Son of God, born of a woman, who brings us, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, to adoption as sons and daughters (cf. Gal 4:4).

    60. Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.

    Mother, help our faith!
    Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
    Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
    Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
    Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
    Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
    Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
    Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!








    Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 29 June, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in the year 2013, the first of my pontificate.



    FRANCISCUS

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Re-Orienting to Zion the History of Ancient Philosophy

    

     
    by
     
    Damien F. Mackey
     


    “Mount Zion, true pole of the earth …”.

    Psalm 48:2

    “I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece”.
    Zechariah 9:13

    Tertullian: "free Jerusalem from Athens and the church of Christ from the Academy of Plato."
    (Tertullian, De praescriptione, vii).

     
    This last comment, by Tertullian, will become a kind of mantra for this article, though not properly according to the context of Tertullian, but according to the context of our AMAIC historical revisions.
    For, as one will read as the description of our site,
     
    “Much of Western culture, mythology and religion has been appropriated from the cultures of the Fertile Crescent region, especially from the Hebrews (Jews)”.
    This is a companion to our site,

    whose description is the same, but with reference to Eastern culture, etc.
    Now this description, as it applies to the west, basically encapsulates the phenomenon that is the history of ancient philosophy, that has been presented to us as being entirely Greco-Roman (Ionian-Italian), but which I intend to argue was actually Hebrew (Israelite/Jewish) and biblical.
    Certainly the Fathers of the Church appreciated at least the seminal impact that the Hebrews had had upon Greco-Roman thinking, though without their having taken the extra step that I intend to take in this article, of actually recognising the most famous early western (supposedly) philosophers as being originally Hebrew.
    To give just a few examples from the Fathers and the early eastern and western legends:
    “According to Clement [of Alexandria], Plato plagiarized revelation from the Hebrews; this gave the Athenian's highest ideas a flavor of divine authority in the estimation of Clement”. (http://www.gospeltruth.net/gkphilo.htm).
    “… Aristoxenus in his book the Life of Pythagoras, as well as Aristarchus and Theopompus say that [Pythagoras] came from Tyre, Neanthes from Syria or Tyre, so the majority agree that Pythagoras was of barbarian origin (Strom. I 62, 2-3).
    Clement of Alexandria even believed that Sirach had influenced the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (Strom. 2.5; Bright 1999:1064).
    Tertullian: "… free Jerusalem from Athens and the church of Christ from the Academy of Plato." (De praescriptione, vii).
    Eusebius of Caesarea believed that Plato had been enlightened by God and was in agreement with Moses. (http://www.gospeltruth.net/gkphilo.htm)
    Aristobulus was among many philosophers of his day who argued that the essentials of Greek philosophy and metaphysics were derived from Jewish sources. Philosopher Numenius of Apamea echoes this position in his well known statement "What is Plato but Moses speaking Attic Greek?" (1.150.4) Aristobulus maintained, 150 years earlier than Philo, that not only the oldest Grecian poets, Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus, etc., but also the most celebrated Greek thinkers, especially Plato, had acquired most of their wisdom from Jewish sages and ancient Hebrew texts (Gfrorer i. p. 308, also ii. 111-118) (Eusebius citing Aristobulus and Numenius Ev ix. 6, xi. 10).
    The Arabic-Christian legends identify [the biblical] Baruch with the eastern sage, Zoroaster, and give much information concerning him.
    Saint Ambrose (Ep. 34) “suggested that Plato was educated in Hebraic letters in Egypt by Jeremiah”.
    Bahá'u'lláh states that the Greek philosopher Empedocles "was a contemporary" of King David, "while Pythagoras lived in the days of Solomon" (Cole, p. 31; Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 145).
    Some of these situations (e.g. Sirach influencing Heraclitus - thought to be centuries before Sirach - and Plato meeting Jeremiah, who presumably lived about a century and a half before Plato) are chronologically impossible, of course, in the present context of ancient history. However, in my revised scheme of historical philosophy, they may not be.
    Sirach is still yet, I believe, to be firmly dated.
    In this article I am going to take four of the key early, supposedly “Ionian” Greek and Italian, philosophers of antiquity, Thales, Heraclitus and Pythagoras (Ionian), and Empedocles (Sicilian), all prior to Socrates (hence ‘pre-Socratics’), and reveal what I believe to be their biblical prototype - of whom I claim these four were merely ghostly replicas, chronologically, ethnically and geographically misplaced.

    ....
     

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Sirach and Heraclitus


    
     
    

    There are perhaps three areas of particular fascination for the AMAIC regarding philosophy – that is, over and above everything else that is right and good in that most important discipline.

    Central to it all is:


    1.The Philosophy of Jesus Christ - restoring Christian philosophy to its biblical roots, with Jesus Christ, Wisdom Incarnate, as the focal point. The Fathers of the Church rightly recognised the profound influence of Hebrew wisdom, the Bible, upon the Greco-Roman world. As‘Salvation is of the Jews’, so is Wisdom. “Jesus”, as we read above, “appealed to God’s previous revelation in the Hebrew Scriptures (Matt. 5:17–19; John 10:31) and issued authoritative revelations of His own as God Incarnate. … Jesus reasoned carefully about the things that matter most — a handy definition of philosophy. His teachings, in fact, cover the basic topics of philosophy. …. As an apologist for God’s truth, He defended the truth of the Hebrew Scriptures as well as His own teachings and actions”.

    2.A Re-orientation of the History of Ancient Philosophy. This actually pre-supposes 1.and needs to be viewed in parallel fashion to the way that the ancient Scriptures pre-figure Jesus the Word, but are also brought to perfection in Him.

    Whilst textbooks on the history of philosophy universally commence with the supposed Ionian Greeks, the AMAIC would urge for a complete re-orientation of influence by arguing that certain (if not all) of the key figures labelled ‘Greek’ (or Ionian) philosophers, ostensibly influenced by the Hebrews (as say the Fathers), were in actual fact Hebrew (Jewish) biblical characters who later became distorted and re-cast in Greco-Roman folklore. The Greco-Romans confused the ethnicity, geography and chronology of these original sages, who were essentially prophets and mystics, and down-graded them by turning them purely into natural philosophers.

    It seems imperative that the common mystical element has to be re-considered, contrary to Mark Glouberman’s mistaken (we believe) view of “Western rationality’s trademark mastery over the natural world”, over the “earlier [religious] mode of thought” of the Hebrews. (“Jacob’s Ladder. Personality and Autonomy in the Hebrew Scriptures”, Mentalities/ Mentalités,13, 1-2, 1998, p. 9).
     

    For studies more astute than Glouberman’s, whose opinion, sadly, the majority might share, would indicate that some of these ancient philosophers – now so cramped to merely natural philosophy andthe elements (earth, fire, water, etc.) – were actually men of great wisdom and enlightenment, religious and mystical. Nicolas Elias Leon Ruiz (Heraclitus and the Work of Awakening) has perceived this mystical quality in the case of the enigmatic but highly significant Heraclitus, supposedly a Greek of Ionian Ephesus. In his Abstract, Ruiz well explains why commentators have invariably found Heraclitus to be an ‘obscure’ thinker (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache):

    ….

    Heraclitus is universally regarded as one of the fathers of western philosophy.

    However, the characterization of the nature of his contribution varies widely. To some he is an early example of rational, empirical, scientific inquiry into the physical world. To others he was primarily a brilliantly innovative metaphysician.

    Still others prefer to see him as the distant ancestor of the great German dialecticians of the 19thcentury. In the 20th century, certain existential phenomenologists all but claimed him as one of their own.

    Behind all of this stands a fundamental set of assumptions that is never questioned. Whatever else may be the case, we know that Heraclitus was, essentially, a rational human being like ourselves. He was a philosopher, concerned with explanation and exposition. He was a thinker, and his fragments encapsulate his thought.

    It is because of this that Heraclitus has been completely misunderstood. We have no idea of who and what he was. We do not understand what he was saying. Perhaps the greatest irony is that Heraclitus himself, at the very outset of what he wrote, explicitly predicted that this would happen.

    Everyone who writes about Heraclitus will make at least passing reference to his legendary obscurity. Some will talk about the oracular character of his writing. A few go so far as to say that his thought bears the traces of revelation, his expression, of prophecy. This is as far as it goes. The problem is that this rather metaphorical way of talking about Heraclitus misses the point entirely. His writing was not just “obscure,” it was esoteric.

    Heraclitus did not merely employ an oracular mode of expression: he was an oracle. What he said was a revelation and he was its prophet. Heraclitus was far from the early rationalist or primitive scientist he has been made out to be. He was what we today would call a mystic.….
    [End of quote]
    Now it seems that Saint “Clement of Alexandria even believed that Sirach had influenced the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (Strom. 2.5; Bright 1999:1064)”. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:ABbefHere occurs that same sort of chronological ‘difficulty’ (in a textbook context) with a Father of the Church as also in the case of Saint Ambrose's conjecture (in De philosophia) that Plato had met Jeremiah in Egypt. Whilst, chronologically, this is an extraordinary statement by Saint Clement, considering that Sirach would be located centuries after Heraclitus, the presumed chronological problem may actually be due to the ignorance of the real identity of the supposedly ‘Greek’philosopher. What if Heraclitus, whose special element was fire, were in fact the same person as the Hebrew Sirach (also known as “Siracides”, hence Heraclitus?), who wrote of fire (Sirach 51:3, 4): “You liberated me … from the stifling heat which hemmed me in, from the heart of a fire which I had not kindled …”. The ancient concept of Divine Wisdom, as written of by Sirach, was supposedly absorbed by Heraclitus, who, we think, may have been but a pale Greek version of the biblical scribe.


    3.The Philosophy of Modern Science. Whilst the real world (physis) was still generally the object of philosophical study for the ancients, modern scientists and philosophers have largely shifted the emphasis on to law and convention (nomos). Our inspiration in this area is Dr. Gavin Ardley, who wrote (“The Physics of Local Motion”, I): “… the system of physics inaugurated by Galileo and Newton is only prima facie physics in the proper sense of that science, namely, an inquiry into the physics or nature of things. According to this contention … physics since Galileo has been progressively detached from the family of the real sciences and no longer has any community with the head of the family, namely, metaphysics”.

    Sunday, July 14, 2013

    Western Leaders Unenlightened Regarding Homosexuality Being Taught In Schools

    

    Exclusive: Rudd's sister wants Putin-style homosexuality ban



    PM?s sister wants Putin-style gay ban

    Loree Rudd at home in Nambour. Picture: Megan Slade. Source: News Limited


    KEVIN Rudd's sister wants Australia to introduce a Vladimir Putin-style ban on schoolchildren being taught about homosexuality.
    Loree Rudd - who says she is unlikely to help her brother on election day because she opposes his support for gay marriage - believes the maverick Russian leader's hardline view on homosexuality is more enlightened than Western leaders.
    "It's like he (Putin) can see the problem ahead," Ms Rudd, 62, who has just returned from a visit to Russia, said.
    "I think that there should be a law (in Australia) protecting children from the propaganda of homosexuality as normal. They're trying to build their family life and structure in Russia and people in the West don't seem to understand our family life and structures are breaking down.
    "I guess the bottom line, if there's one thing I can say that can't be challenged, it's that society needs to protect its children as best they can."

    Putin signs 'gay propaganda' ban

    Ms Rudd, a nurse on Queensland's Sunshine Coast who once trained as a nun, revealed her brother rang her before he decided to go public about his decision to support gay marriage.
    At first she figured Mr Rudd might "stick me near a church to help out" on election day but now she fears handing out flyers in his Brisbane electorate will be "hypocritical".
    "I don't think I will do anything on election day," she said.

    Family History

    PM Kevin Rudd and his sister Loree Rudd at the donation of his Family History to the National Library at Parliament House in Canberra. He says he respects her views.


    Ms Rudd said she was rarely able to catch up with the Prime Minister except for on her birthday and at family events.
    She said her youngest brother was often too busy and most communication came in the form of regular text messages.
    When he called her in May to say he had changed his mind on gay marriage, Ms Rudd told him she accepted his views but would not change her own.

    Kevin Rudd's junior shadow

    Ms Rudd rejoined the Labor Party last year after angrily and publicly tearing-up her membership when the party voted to support a conscience vote on same-sex marriage at its national conference in 2011.
    She has always refused to apologise for controversially describing some homosexual lobby groups as "the gay Gestapo" at the time.
    She rejects being labelled as "cruel or nasty" and says she had always "mixed with (homosexuals) happily", even "accidentally" dating a gay man when she was a student in her 20s.
    "My view (on homosexuality) I can say with complete honesty has always been the same. I even dated one once, not knowing he was homosexual."
    It wasn't until a decade later when she reflected on her ex-boyfriend and the male company he kept that Ms Rudd said she realised: "Oh my God, they were all practising homosexuals."
    Mr Rudd has said his decision to support gay marriage was triggered by the confession of a former political staffer that he was gay and would like to get married one day.
    Ms Rudd said she respected gay people but would not change her stance.
    "There's nothing wrong with loving someone of the same sex. It's normally called friendship. But when sex is involved in that (relationship), that's a different thing," she said.
    "I'm not walking around saying these people can't do what they want to do. Of course they can. (But) it's the calling of it marriage that bothers people."
    A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said he "respects the views of other people, including his sister".
    Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome said the lobby group would campaign in key electorates in the lead up to the election for the Coalition to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.
    "I urge all supporters of equality to contact their local candidates and share their story about why marriage equality is important to them," he said.
    He said school students heard and read about same-sex relationships on a daily basis so it "would be absurd for teachers to pretend these relationships don't exist".
    "Those who say there should be no discussion of homosexuality in school are not only living in the past, they are putting the lives of young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people at risk by robbing them of the support they need to deal with the prejudice they too often encounter."


    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national-news/federal-election/exclusive-rudd8217s-sister-wants-putinstyle-homosexuality-ban/story-fnho52ip-1226678897017#ixzz2Z5AyO4NV